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  1. 1. Jamaica Leslea Pedersen History 141 September 9, 2009 Dr. Michael Arguello
  2. 2. Jamaica Geography • Jamaica is an island in the Carribean, south of Cuba. • The island is mountainous and tropical with beautiful beaches and coral reefs. • It is the third largest island of the Greater Antilles in the West Indies. • There are thermal springs in various areas on the island. There are no volcanoes, but the island is subject to severe earthquakes.
  3. 3. Jamaica Geography • The island is tropical with a mean annual temperature of 80 degrees fahrenheit. • Annual rainfall varies by region throughout the island. Late summer, early fall is hurricane season for Jamaica. • The island is rich in bauxite deposits. • There is a wide variety of plants, trees, and birds. • There are no venomous reptiles in Jamaica; this is a good thing.
  4. 4. Jamaica History • The indigenous people of Jamaica came from South America. They were Taino and spoke Arawakan. • Christopher Columbus claimed the island for Spain in 1494. It was later won by Britain in the 17th century. • The first Spanish settlement, Sevilla, had to be abandoned due to pirate raids. • After becoming a British colony around 1670. • During this time, sugar was a lucrative commodity. Plantations were established and African slaves were imported to work the plantations. • Jamaica was the world‟s leading sugar exported for 200 years.
  5. 5. Jamaica History • In the 19th century, England abolished the slave trade and passed laws to improve how blacks were treated. • Around 1962, Jamaica became independent from Britain. However, it is still in the realm of the Commonwealth of Britain and Queen Elizabeth II is the Head of State. • Descendents of Indian and Chinese indentured servants live in Jamaica today. • After their independence, Jamaica experienced a strong economic growth. Bauxite and tourism being two lucrative commodities. However, worldwide downturns experienced in the „70s and „80s and aluminum manufacturer problems have taken their toll on Jamaica‟s economy. Tourism remains a good money maker.
  6. 6. Jamaica People • The population of Jamaica is predominately black. • The majority of the population are descendents of the African slaves who worked the sugar plantations during the first 200 years of British rule. • There are also descendents of the Indian and Chinese indentured servants living in Jamaica.
  7. 7. Jamaica People • The population is 2,825,928. The annual increase recently declined to 0.76. Many Jamaicans have immigrated to the United States, Britain, and Latin America. • English is the official language. There is also a dialect spoken which incorporates African, Spanish, and French influences. • Christianity is the predominant religion in Jamaica. • There is a great deal of poverty in Jamaica.
  8. 8. Jamaica Culture • The culture in Jamaica is a blend of British and African as a result of being a British colony and the sugar plantations worked by African slaves. • Jamaica was a part of the British empire for over 300 years. Their customs reflect this influence. • The African flavors are manifested in their music and dance.
  9. 9. Jamaica Culture • Raggae music is distinctly Jamaican. People who are into music will instantly recognize Raggae music and make the connection to Jamaica. • Calypso and Soca are two other genres of music from Jamaica and the Carribean area. • Jerk chicken and jerk pork are Jamaican recipes specific to Jamaica which use spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.
  10. 10. Jamaica Nation Report Sources Encarta: www.encarta.msn.com/encyclopedia Wikipedia: www.wikipedia.org
  11. 11. Jamaica Part II Leslea Pedersen History 141 September 22, 2009 Dr. Michael Arguello
  12. 12. Jamaican Culture • There are over 30 traditional Jamaican dances, which follow three specific styles: African derived, European derived, and Creole which is a fusion of the first two styles. • The African style dances were mainly for religious/worship ceremonies, but the quadrille is of a social nature. The quadrille was usually accompanied with a traditional African work song sung by slaves. • European dances were brought to Jamaica by indentured servants from Scotland, England & Ireland. The most popular is called the Morris. • Creole dances were created in Jamaica and fuse together the African & European styles together. The oldest & most popular is called Johnkannu.
  13. 13. Jamaican Culture • Jamaican music comes from an African foundation, but has been influenced by the music of England & France. • Reggae is a genre which is always associated with Jamaica. It has a very relaxing vibe, with a rhythmic propulsion that makes you want to get up and dance. The great-great grand- daddy of Reggae is “mento,” not to be confused with calypso, a form of folk music. The lyrical inspiration for mento was tropical issues. • Ska is another genre of Jamaica. It combines a New Orleans blues style with mento. Popular with young Jamaicans and the poorer population. • Jamaican music has changed a lot over the past 35 years.
  14. 14. Jamaican Culture • The artists of Jamaica display a spirituality that parallels the other aspects of the isolation of the island. Edna Manley‟s “Negro Aroused” and Ronald Moody‟s “Head” are considered icons of visual art pieces. These pieces are said to be imbued with emotion. • Looking back over the pieces of art up to the 1960s, you see the colonial‟s model influences, particularly economically speaking. Judging from what the art reflects, English culture influences were greatest on the Jamaican population. There is not too much influence from Africa, the Chinese or India.
  15. 15. Jamaican Culture • Jamaica‟s literature is well known internationally. Their literature has come from a rich tradition of storytelling (oral history), connecting both the written and oral forms. • Jamaica‟s natural speech is an element which helps to make their literature unique. • A famous poet/author from Jamaica, Claude McKay, immigrated to the United States and was an inspiration to the writers of the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920/1930s.
  16. 16. Sources “3 Moments In Jamaican Art” www.iadb.org Literature: http://jamaica-guide.info Dance: www.my-island-jamaica.com Music: www.ddg.com
  17. 17. Jamaica Part III Leslea Pedersen History 141 September 22, 2009 Dr. Michael Arguello
  18. 18. Jamaica Current Events • Jamaica is now an independent country, but part of the commonwealth of England. It is a parliamentary democracy, closely modeled after England‟s. It was formerly a colony of Great Britain. • There are three branches of government. The executive branch is led by the Prime Minister. The other two are the Legislative and Judicial branches. This is also like the U.S. • In 2006, for the first time in history, Jamaica had a woman for Prime Minister.
  19. 19. Jamaica Current Events • There are two major political parties. Both are associated with big trade unions. A third party, not associated with any unions, was created in 1995, but is no longer very active. • Slum lords called “dons” at one time gain power through links to the political parties. • Since the 1980s and 1990s, the slum lords‟ involvement with drug trafficking has enabled them to be independent of the political leadership. • This is a very unfortunate reality.
  20. 20. Jamaica Current Events • Jamaica‟s economic problems are naturally a big part of their political debate. • The unemployment rate is 15% and inflation is 9.4%. • Over the last 5 years, the garment industry has suffered from reduced export earnings & continued factory closures. This may be attributed to intense competition, absence of NAFTA parity & drug contamination. • The Government of Jamaica hopes to encourage economic activity through, in part, privatization, reduced interest rates and boosting tourism.
  21. 21. Jamaica Current Events • The United States is Jamaica‟s most important trading partner. Jamaica relies heavily on tourism from the United States. • Many U.S. businesses have operations in Jamaica. The United States‟ total investment in Jamaica is more than $3 billion. • Jamaica is an active member of the United Nations.
  22. 22. Sources For Jamaica Part III, my only source was Wikipedia.